Uga III, the Tiger Baiter (via blog.thesouthmag.com)
It's Friday night/early Saturday morning before game day in Athens -- could there be anything sweeter? (I apologize that this is "night right before the game" and not "midweek", but schoolwork pushed the schedule back a bit this week. Hopefully I'll be back on track for Week Six.) Again, this write-up is long because it contains two parts - my predictions and picks for the upcoming week around the conference, and a recap of the previous week's results. I hope you have almost as much fun reading this as I do writing it. As always, feel free to comment, weigh in, and leave feedback!
**WEEK FOUR - RESULTS & RECAP**
Not too shabby -- I went 7-1 in my picks last week, but I'd like to take a moment to call out the horribad Hawgs: thanks to Bielema's Baconators, I was unable to match my perfect inaugural pick record from Week Four. Let's take a moment to recap all the
snorefests action before we move on to the weekend ahead.
1) Vanderbilt at UMass.
More like UMass-ochistic...(hooray, puns!) Not to mention, it's head-scratching road trips like this that make me wonder if Vanderbilt "fans" exist somewhere other than a poorly laid-out basketball court every once in a while. That being said, this one was a struggle for quite a bit. In front of a
raucous and hostile crowd of 16,000, the Commodores held a tenuous 10-7 lead for most of the game until the offense finally found its way back into the end zone in the fourth. Vanderbilt appears to lack the potency on offense that it has had the past few years (no, don't laugh at that, I'm completely serious -- okay, I'll qualify that statement with "relatively speaking") -- the 'Dores have yet to hit 40 points in a game this season, but on the bright side, the Culture Changers improved to a .500 through week four. Even more mind-blowing? Pending how Missouri holds up in conference play, the Commodores could feasibly finish at third or fourth in the division.
DiemonDawg's Pick: "Vanderbilt wins, should be a blowout. 30-40 points to the Minutemen's 7-14." I was close to being spot-on for this, but this game was absolutely closer than the final score indicates.
Final Score: 24-7, Vanderbilt.
Culture Change: Fiery Butthole demonstrates his enthusiasm after the nailbiter win. (via www.cbssports.com)
2) Arkansas at Rutgers.
Thanks, Bacon Bits. You had it in the bag, then you go and blow it against a team from freakin' New Jersey. AGAIN. (No offense, Rutgers.) Anyway, I mentioned last week that this was a game Bret Bielema needed to win just to start establishing some conference credibility. I continue to be wary of the former B1G coach.
A little humorous side story did come out of the Arkansas game, though. After Wisconsin lost to Arizona State, Bielema's wife tweeted "#karma", seemingly taking a shot at the Badgers. After Arkansas lost, another B1G coach's wife fired a thinly veiled retaliatory shot:
Congrats to future Big Ten rival Rutgers. Big win today over SEC opponent. #Karma— jen (@JenVrabel1) September 21, 2013
We'll see how Bielema attempts to resurrect the Hapless Hogs in the next few years, but if the Rutgers game is any indication, it might be a slower process than previously thought in Fayetteville. For what it's worth, Rutgers has only beaten an SEC team six times out of 19 tries: Arkansas (2), Kentucky (2), Vanderbilt, and Tennessee.
DiemonDawg's Pick: Hogs, "by no more than 14." Welp, that was a whole lot of derp.
Final Score: 28-24, Rutgers.
3) Tennessee at Florida.
I hope the date at least went well. It was a crappy week already for the boys in orange: after allegations surfaced before the Oregon game that ex-quarterback Tyler Bray and current defensive lineman Maurice Couch received improper benefits, former Vol and current Houston Texan Arian Foster went public with a statement that he received benefits while at Tennessee. He seems to have acknowledged this in an effort to challenge NCAA policies on player benefits, but just ma-a-a-aybe that wasn't the best way to go about it.
Tennessee, we all know, is firmly entrenched in rebuilding mode, but I'm sure most of Vol Nation is already praying for a quick, merciful end to the 2013 season. But for all we know, the Gators might be having similar thoughts.
Jeff Driskel was hurt in this game, and he's now out for the season. We may hate Florida around these parts, but outside of that, Driskel's just a college kid who was probably hoping to improve his game and become a leader for his team. I wish him the best, as I wish no ill will toward any college player
not named Johnny Man$iel. It will be interesting to see how the Gators respond to this in the weeks to come. Tyler Murphy (no relation to Erin) is set to start for the Gators instead.
Driskel's season-ending injury. Get well, kid. (via cdn1.sbnation.com)
As far as the actual game, it was just a slopfest. It was the Gators' ninth straight win in the series, and Tennessee coughed up SIX turnovers (they reportedly did not give the game away by doing this) while letting the Gators have the ball for nearly forty minutes. In a word: UGLY.
DiemonDawg's Pick: "Honestly it could go either way...both offenses are going to struggle." (Yay, apathy!)
Final Score: 31-17, Florida.
4) SMU at Texas A&M.
This would've been a fun game a few decades ago. You may remember SMU's QB, Garrett Gilbert, as the former Texas QB who, as a wide-eyed true freshman, replaced the injured Colt McCoy in the 2009 BCS game. Not a fun night for him in this one either. Johnny Man$iel scored three TDs and gained 346 total yards, but though the score was pretty lopsided, both teams apparently played some sloppy ball. Each team racked up over a hundred yards in penalties, and A&M missed three straight PATs. But no matter, A&M was never in danger here. Now they look forward to a trip to Fayetteville to take on the Razorbacks.
DiemonDawg's Pick: "Texas A&M, by a lot." As expected.
Final Score: 42-13, A&M.
5) Colorado State at Alabama.
Roll Toughschedule Roll! Except this one, by "cupcake game" standards, was actually pretty interesting for a while. Fun side note: In an effort to show that 'Bama can hand down an even more ridiculous suspension than A&M, Saban suspended TJ Yeldon for a quarter of the CSU game as punishment for the throat-slash gesture he made after scoring a TD against A&M. The good news is, TJ probably had time to save 15% or more on his car insurance. (Har har.)
As far as the game itself, the Rams actually put up a pretty good fight. Though they only managed to hang six up on the Tide, they held them without a third down conversion until the fourth quarter. Actually, until the fourth quarter, the Rams managed to hold the Tide to a paltry 17-6 lead. Unfortunately, the monumental upset bid couldn't be sustained - the CSU offense couldn't find the end zone, and in the end, they just got worn out. A good fight nonetheless, and props to Jim McElwain for prepping his "cupcake" squad for the battle. Now, the Tide looks forward to hosting the Ole Miss Rebels at Bryant-Denny in a top-25 SEC clash.
DiemonDawg's Pick: "Alabama destroys CSU, by a lot." By Alabama standards, it was pretty subpar. But the game was never really in question.
When McCarron first found out they'd be playing CSU. (via 31.media.tumblr.com)
Final Score: 31-6, Alabama.
6) Troy at Mississippi State.
A small sigh of relief in Starkville. I'm pretty sure we won't be seeing this "Believe" stuff again in 2013. However, State fans seem optimistic that Dak Prescott could be their long-term solution at QB. This was his third start after QB Tyler Russell suffered a concussion against Oklahoma State. We'll see as the season goes on just how much Prescott can cool down Dan Mullen's seat.
A point of pride for the Bizarro Dawgs though? This game saw the most points that Miss State had scored in a game since 1994. In addition, the Maroons of Mississippi closed out the game with 551 total yards.
So what exactly do we know about MSU at this juncture?
1. We know that Bully loves him some cupcakes.
Nom-nom-Alcorn-and-Troy-nom-nom. (via assets.sbnation.com)
2. Against decent competition, Miss State has not looked so good. They went toe-to-toe with Auburn, but they were run out of the stadium by Oklahoma State. If there's any hope for Dan Mullen, he finds a fix - maybe it's with Prescott - but he needs to fix it fast. The Cowbell Clan wants to believe again.
Right now, what a Bizarro Bulldog might look like against semi-quality competition. (via i1108.photobucket.com)
DiemonDawg's Pick: "Miss State by 3 scores." The OhioSt-Miami-Louisville card was played on the hapless Trojans.
Final Score: 62-7, Miss State.
7) Auburn at LSU, aka "The Outcast Bowl".
(Yes, I am making an unofficial official push to call this match-up the Outcast Bowl from now on, thanks to our friends at ESPN for billing the contest as a battle between "two Georgia outcast quarterbacks". I found it highly amusing and, most importantly, highly belittling to our rivals on the Plains. They only get our scraps!)
After much hype from the Worldwide Leader and a visit from a very big LSU alum, the Tiger Tussle began.
Like our game, it was a dreary, rainy affair, but the Bayou Bengals managed to take control of Auburn pretty early on with a consistent run game. It stayed pretty quiet until late in the game, when LSU decided they were all but done for the night and Auburn began an attempt to claw its way back into the game. However, this rally was snuffed out once and for all with Zach Mettenberger's sole TD pass.
Speaking of Mett, how did the Georgia Outcasts do? Nick Marshall of Auburn was 17/33 for 224 yards, no touchdowns and two picks. Mettenberger, the potential Heisman candidate as some LSU fans and talking heads are saying, didn't look nearly as comfortable as he did in their previous three games, going 14/22 for 229 yards, a TD and a pick.
As well as LSU played, they did have some weaknesses evident in the stats. Ten penalties for 85 yards, 5-13 in 3rd down conversions, 0-1 on a 4th down conversion, and two turnovers. It will be interesting to see how much they clean up when they take the field between the hedges tomorrow.
DiemonDawg's Pick: "I'll be a bit brash and say the Bayou Bengals win by at least 20." If they had played all four quarters, then yes, they would have.
Mad Hatter don't care. (via i.minus.com)
Final Score: 35-21, LSU.
8) Missouri at Indiana.
Thank you Mizzou, for not embarrassing the conference like Tennessee did in Oregon. Perhaps it's some kind of voodoo magic (or maybe it's because they've played Murray State, Toledo, and Indiana), but Mizzou is the only overall undefeated team in the SEC East right now. Like Vanderbilt, they have the potential to finish in the top half of the division.
...sorcery? (via usatthebiglead.files.wordpress.com)
DiemonDawg's Pick: "Mizzou, by 10+."
Final Score: 45-28, Mizzou.
9) North Texas at Georgia.
The good guys got the win, but not without some "Mean" from the Mean Green. A lot of sloppy play, but I think it's safe to say there were plenty of bright spots. We've hashed and rehashed what a win without style points over a smaller school means, but in the end, it means nothing. Our sloppy play against Clemson had no effect on what we did against South Carolina.
Absolutely beautiful. More please? (via 3.bp.blogspot.com)
Now...onto LSU! (As much as I hate the Gameday curse, it's cool seeing Myers Hall/Quad on national TV and getting some praise for its beauty, despite being located at UGA - aka ESPN's least favorite university. Great times were had there.)
Final Score: 45-21.
**WEEK FIVE - SEC ACTION**
Let's get Week Five kicked off with a bang on this lovely Friday night/Saturday morning, shall we?
1) #12 South Carolina at UCF, 12:00PM, ABC.
Yep, that UCF... but it seems as though the Knights have earned some serious respect since we last faced them. (/sob)
The Fighting Spurriers travel to Orlando amid speculation that this could be a trap game for the Gamecocks. Upset in the making? I doubt it, but I think UCF will at least make it a little closer than they'd like.
DiemonDawg's Pick: South Carolina is a very talented team. They might not have had a repeat of "the Hit" from Clowney so far this year, but they've still been productive. I'll take the Garnet and Black by two TDs.
2) South Alabama at Tennessee, 12:21PM, SEC TV.
The Vols could really use a "W" right now. They were absolutely annihilated by the likes of Oregon and (by UF's standards) a bad Florida team, However, they're not so bad that they can't still run the smaller schools out of Neyland Stadium. South Alabama doesn't have a prayer - at this point, Tennessee just wants to feel something that resembles happy, and that just doesn't bode well for the Jaguars. Expect the Vols to hang at least 40-50 like they did on Austin Peay and Western Kentucky.
DiemonDawg's Pick: Actually picking the Vols this time! By at least 30.
3) #21 Ole Miss at #1 Alabama, 6:30PM, ESPN.
Could this be a trap game for the top-ranked Tide? Ole Miss has only beaten Alabama nine times ever, and only one of those victories was won in Tuscaloosa (1988). And Ole Miss has not beaten Bama since 2003. (Guess who was quarterback for the Rebels back then?)
Outside of our showdown with the LSU Tigers, I'm most interested in this SEC match-up. The Rebels look sharp, but I'm hesitant to say for sure that they can pull the upset. However, on Alabama's schedule, it looks like Ole Miss and LSU are the only obvious obstacles to a repeat trip to Atlanta. The Rebels gave the Tide all they could handle in last year's edition of the series...can they finish what they started last year? We'll see if Texas A&M and Colorado State helped expose some weaknesses, and we'll see if Bama makes adjustments for those holes.
DiemonDawg's Pick: I'm gonna pick Bama, by 13 tops, but I really would not mind being wrong here. I'm gonna tab this one as a bigger "upset alert" than SCar-UCF. After all, the Rebels could decode Saban's triangles.
4) #10 Texas A&M at Arkansas, 7:00PM, ESPN2.
Those Hogs are headed to the slaughterhouse. Johnny Manziel brings home the bacon. (See what I did there?)
DiemonDawg's Pick: Aggie Field Day in Fayetteville - the A&M Manziels win, by at least three scores.
5) #20 Florida at Kentucky, 7:00PM, ESPNU.
We can agree that Florida's offense is all kinds of bad, but Tennessee and Kentucky are now essentially the same team with different colors.
Despite an offense that looks like this, fickle fans who do not approve, and a coach who is angry that the derp is strong in the Swamp right now, the Gators might play ugly, but even a dead Gator can usually outmuscle a typical blue Wildcat.
DiemonDawg's Pick: Florida by at least 2 TDs.
And for good measure, something like this. Doink! (via cdn0.sbnation.com)
6) UAB at Vanderbilt, 7:30PM, FSN.
The Commodores return to Nashville after a close encounter up north in Boston. UAB is 1-2 so far this year, having lost to Troy and LSU and walloping Northwestern State. ESPN says tickets to this game start at $3, if that tells you anything. Despite that, James Franklin is looking for his guys to tune up and improve before we get deep into conference play.
Some schools pay with cash for making plays. James Franklin pays with kisses. (via cdn3.sbnation.com)
DiemonDawg's Pick: Vanderbilt by at least 20. They haven't broken 40 points in a game this year, but this could be the one where they do just that.
7) Arkansas State at Missouri, 7:30PM, CSS.
The undefeated Tigers return to Faurot Field with wins over Murray State, Toledo, and Indiana. This weekend, they take on the Red Wolves of Arkansas State.
DiemonDawg's Pick: Missouri by 15-20, before heading to Nashville to open conference play against the 'Dores next week.
And the best for last, of course:
8) #6 LSU at #9 Georgia, 3:30PM, CBS.
After I heard a guy on SportsCenter refer to playing in Sanford Stadium as "between the shrubs," I demand nothing more than our Georgia Dawgs going out there and kicking some Bayou ass! Show some RESPECT! (Cue Early Cuyler: WOO!)
I am anxious to see if Evil Richt makes an appearance, our D shows some signs of maturity, and Murray takes another step in exorcising the "Big Game" narrative. If those elements all make an appearance, I will feel a lot more confident. I look forward to seeing the "red-out" in the stands and the results of a tougher week of practice.
And who knows? Maybe "Evil Russ" will make his debut and show up some Tigers, just like his great-great-grandfather Uga III reportedly did to Mike the Tiger back in the day. It's one of my favorite Uga stories and one of my favorite UGA-LSU stories, so I thought I'd share:
In 1978, Uga III's only trip to Baton Rouge, Georgia ran into an unbeaten, sixth-ranked LSU team. The Tigers are tough to beat on Saturday night in the Bayou, but thanks to Uga III Vince Dooley had an inkling prior to the game that this would be the Dogs' night. The moment made such an impression that Dooley recalled it on his Athens radio show 20 years later, as Georgia was preparing for a game in Baton Rouge against another sixth-ranked LSU team. Dooley's '98 radio commentary went like this: "They rolled the cage toward the 50-yard line, where the tiger normally stays during a game and right in his path was Uga III, which really infuriated the tiger. He ran up to the front of his cage and let out a loud roar, but ol' Uga just sat there. That really made the tiger mad. He got up on his hind legs, rattled the cage, and roared even louder. When the tiger did that, Uga raised up, took two steps forward, and barked, at which time the tiger sheepishly retreated to the back of the cage."
Here's hoping something like this doesn't scare the zebras into working against us. May beautiful Sanford Stadium survive the unmistakable stench of corndogs that will descend upon Athens in the morning, and may not one blade of our grass or one leaf from our renowned hedges touch the Mad Hatter's lips. I hope we see plenty of toughness and heart from our Dawgs, and plenty of jubilation from the red and black when that scoreboard reads 0:00.
Uga IX is feeling a bit Munsonian right about now. (via cdn.bleacherreport.net)
No matter what though, it's GREAT to be a Georgia Bulldog. That's one I'll always get right.
Happy Saturday, Dawg Nation! Our team, our time, no regrets! Finish the drill!
Oh, and as a public service announcement, I'd just like to say...don't ever leave your dog with a member of the College Gameday Crew.
Reveille looks absolutely horrified.
Pretty sure that's illegal if you do that to infants.
Someone get Uga and Hairy and hide them - ASAP!
Until next time...